After fighting to get my tractor running again — internal combustion engines are less cold-tolerant than sheep, it seems; more on that soon — I got to the urgent task of feeding the flock of ewes and rams, who needed two new round bales this afternoon. The first bale went smoothly, but I opened the second one to find a big moldy spot.
I texted Bill a photo of the bale, with editorial invective for the maker. I was expecting righteous indignation in response, but instead he tried to talk me down: “That wouldn’t bother me much. I think Keith has spoiled you for feed made by mortals. That’s probably just a spot where the bale got slightly deformed, allowing an air pocket between the feed and the bale wrap.”
Excusable or not, I still had to cut the moldy bits out, but the task was complicated by the utterly frozen state of the bale. Normally I’d cut around the mold with a sharp knife and just pull it away. At 2ºF, I cut and pried with a crowbar, but wasn’t making much progress. If only there was a more effective tool for cutting into frozen hay… Then I looked a few feet away in the barn.